|Gwydir Forest, where Dafydd ap Siencyn lived.|
For such a small, scenic and pretty village, Llanrwst certainly has an amazing history. Llanrwst's main trade is tourism, and there's certainly enough local and mythical legend surrounding the region for Llanrwst to do very well out of North Wales' booming tourism industry. Llanrwst is very much an attraction in itself, boasting picturesque sights, engaging and fantastic walks, and a few very fantastic hotels in Llanrwst. Llanrwst's history is vast and expansive, and one of the more factual accounts is quite unknown to most. The story of Dafydd ap Siencyn is fascinating, and he has earned the moniker "The Welsh Robin Hood" by visitors and historians alike. Dafydd ap Siencyn was reported to have been an outlaw poet, which was actually directly descended from Owain Glyndwr (on his his mother's side - that lady known as Margaret, daughter of Rhys, Son of Rhys Gethin, the son of Owain Glyndwr.) Dafydd ap Siencyn was a partisan for the Lancastrian side within the War of the Roses, and fled Llanrwst when it was besieged by the Yorkist Army under William Herbert, the Duke of Pembroke. It is said that he then lived within the Gwydir Forest, overlooking the town of Llanrwst, with his army of followers - who were noted to have dressed in green - probably as a form of camouflage. He is noted to have marched to Denbigh (which was North Wales' largest Yorkist Garrison) and entered a bloody battle which resulted in the entire garrison being burned down. The King was said to have been furious at the tenacity of the bandit, and then charged William Herbert with "laying waste to the entire Conwy Valley" Subsequently, Llanrwst church was burned down, and rebuilt 2 years later. Dafydd ap Siencyn received a pardon from the King in 1468, and was appointed the Constable of Conwy Castle after killing his predecessor. Not much is known about Dafydd ap Siencyn's life thereafter. It is presumed that he kept his position until he was killed in a brawl. In 2010, the Forestry Commission unveiled a sculpture trail which commemorates the birth, life and death of this outlaw poet, Wales' very own Robin Hood. It stands proud, 16 years later - attracting tourists from all over Wales, and internationally.
Image Credit: Stuart Madden | CC BY 2.0